This week, President Barack Obama paid a visit to Senegal, the stepping off point for slavery, for slaves, their last step on African soil on their way to the New World, wherever that was destined to be. It was an unspeakable journey, one they didn’t want to make but slaves had no choice in the matter. The iconic “Door of No Return,” with President and First Lady Obama above, has come to symbolize that step, not just for the thousands of slaves who stepped through that particular door, but for all of those who stepped through any door of slavery.
President Obama is not the first President to visit this powerful location. He was preceded by both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Reporter April Ryan, herself a descendant of slaves, accompanied all three Presidents. She talks candidly about this emotional experience and how this visit was different.
The New York Daily News carries a series of poignant pictures of the visit.
April Ryan said it…”We are all products of the Motherland.” Many of us descend from enslaved ancestors, but ultimately, all of us descend from Africa. It’s only a matter of how long ago. She is right, we are all products of the Motherland, as illustrated by these human population genetic clan migration maps provided by Family Tree DNA. These show haplogroup R, the most prevalent European male haplogroup, haplogroup H the most prevalent female European haplogroup and haplogroup Q, the most common male Native American haplogroup. The path for all of us began in Africa, our Motherland.